September Williams Author of Chasing Mercury Supports Marin City's Performing Stars & performingartstars/national-memorial-for-peace-and-justice-and-the-legacy-museum


Performing Stars of Marin, a non-profit founded in 1990, transforms the lives of low-income, primarily multicultural children throughout Marin County by using enrichment programs to build pride, character, discipline, and self-esteem. Our programs help youth develop good work habits and positive social skills, enhance academic performance and professional readiness, and encourages each participant to develop their own self-reliance with the ultimate goal of helping them become individuals who are capable of "performing" the leadership roles necessary to help their next generation.


April 13 2018 Contact: Felecia Gaston Executive Director, performingstars@

On April 25th, twenty current members and alumni of Performing Stars and the Phoenix Project will travel to Montgomery, Alabama. They will be representing Marin City, along with six other Marin City residents, at the openings on April 26 and 27 of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration.

Marin City was invited to participate in the openings, due to its historical significance in African American history. Marin City was built in 1942 for workers that migrated from across the US
to build ships in the Marinship during WWII. One year after its founding, Marin City had a population of 6,000; 10% were African Americans from the South. It was the first integrated federal housing project in the US and was hailed as a bold social experiment in race relations.

After WWII ended, many of the African Americans who had migrated from the South, stayed and became permanent residents of Marin City. Until 1967, when the US Supreme Court ruled that California housing laws had to reflect Federal housing laws, it was almost impossible for African Americans to rent or buy homes in Marin County. The population of Marin City in 1962 was 1,300; 90% were African American. The current population is 2500, 37% are
African American.

On April 26th and 27th, the representatives from Marin City will participate in the two day opening of the Memorial and the Museum. The Equal Justice Initiative, the non-profit that sponsored the building of the Museum and Memorial, is hosting a series of events to celebrate the two new institutions. Marin City delegates will participate in two days of workshops at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center that include prominent speakers addressing the impact of our nation’s history of racial inequality.

The Opening Ceremony is on the evening of April 26 at the Montgomery Convention Center. It will include comments from Congressman John Lewis and other national leaders, and will feature performances of music and dance, including Sweet Honey and the Rock, and Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. On the evening of the 27th, there will be a Concert for Peace and Justice at the Riverwalk Amphitheater.

For more information on the two days of the Openings:

Felecia Gaston, Executive Director, of Performing Stars stated, "The young people selected to attend were chosen based on their involvement in Performing Stars as young children, starting at the age of 5. They have each shown a commitment to the program and leadership skills. Some were selected because of their involvement in The Phoenix Project whose focus is guiding young adult males to develop personal, social, and economic skills to become productive citizens. This trip is also a part of our Civic Education Program that focuses on preparing community leaders for the next generation to carry on the important work that is needed in Marin City."

Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor of the TomKat Foundation have funded this opportunity for the
26 Marin City residents to better understand the struggle and the cost of freedom and equality. Thanks to their generosity, Marin City participants will join thousands of others from across
the country, melding what it means to be people of color today with the history of slavery
and the fight against oppression that took place in Alabama over fifty years ago.

In the words of Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor, “We are honored to stand beside these young leaders and their mentors as they make this important journey to Montgomery, and put on their own robes of truth, reconciliation and reparations through equal justice. As these young people blaze a path to justice and opportunity for all, each of us in this country should look to the past to remember that when ordinary people band together with the resolve to make the world righteous and just, there is no force that can hold us down.”